Machete attack leaves man dead

Arrest made after killing in Atwater

vpatton@mercedsunstar.comApril 30, 2013 

ATWATER -- A 61-year-old man died over the weekend after being attacked by a machete-wielding assailant, police reported Monday.

One suspect has been arrested in the case.

Police responded to a report of a stabbing at 5:15 p.m. Sunday at 1501 Valencia Way, according to Lt. Samuel Joseph.

Officers found the victim, identified as Joseph McDonald, suffering from severe lacerations to the right side of his neck and both arms. The victim, who couldn't communicate with officers, was taken to Mercy Medical Center, where he died.

During their investigation, police found a machete they believe was tossed by the attacker as he fled the scene. A witness provided detectives with the first name of a possible suspect.

Someone was seen leaving the scene in a burgundy 1993 Chevy pickup with a chrome roll bar and off-road lights, Joseph said.

Police identified Antonio Cruz Guzman, 30, who lives at a 5200 Crest Road trailer park, as the suspect. Officers spoke with Guzman's wife, who consented to a search of the residence.

When officers arrived at the home to conduct the search, they found Guzman and ordered him to show them his hands, but he refused to do so and had to be subdued with a Taser, according to Joseph.

Detectives said they found that the suspect's truck had blood on the steering wheel. Joseph said detectives worked through the evening looking for clues and interviewing witnesses.

Some members of the suspect's family rejected the allegations. "I don't think he did that. He wouldn't do that," said Fatima Gonzales, 16, Guzman's stepdaughter.

2nd machete attack

The case is the second reported machete attack this month in Merced County.

On April 15, a 19-year-old man was hurt in a gang-related machete attack near 13th and R streets. One person was taken into custody by Merced police in that case.

Guzman was booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of murder.

McDonald's death is the 10th homicide reported in Merced County this year.

City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsunstar.com.

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